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Legal 500 (2016)

Devastated Family Take Battle Over Essex Building Site Death To Court

Guilherme de Oliveira, 44, was killed on 10 November 2008 when a beam, which was suspended from a crane and being lowered into its intended resting point, swung as a result of strong winds and crushed Mr Oliveira against a tower. The impact broke his spine and he died at the scene.

Now legal proceedings have begun at the High Court in London on behalf of Mr Oliveira’s widow and their two young children, in a bid to secure financial security for the worker’s traumatised family.

Dominique Mercieca, an injury specialist at Irwin Mitchell, is representing the Oliveira family against employers Portscope Contractors Ltd and the main contractors at the hospital site, Bouygues UK . Both companies deny liability for the incident.

She said: "The victim in this case left behind a wife and two children in order to find work in England and they are all understandably struggling to come to terms with his death.

"While the inquest revealed that Bouygues UK has introduced new safety procedures since the accident, this has of course come much too late for Mr Oliveira.

"We now want to ensure Mrs Oliviera and her children, who have lost someone they depended on emotionally and financially, are given the support they need and, ultimately, that lessons are learnt from this terrible incident, to prevent anyone else being hurt in the same manner."

Mr Oliveira left his wife Albertina and children Ricardo and Bruna in Portugal when he came to work in England in May 2008. He was hired by Portscope Contractors who supplied tradesmen to Bouygues UK to work at the Broomfield Hospital site and was helping to create the concrete frame of the building when he died in November 2008.

Tasked with unhooking a concrete beam from a crane used to lift it onto support towers, Mr Oliviera was crushed when wind blew the beam sending him hurtling into one of the towers. A verdict of accidental death was recorded at an inquest earlier this year.

Dominique Mercieca of Irwin Mitchell added: "This is a tragic case in which a family have seen a father and husband move away to seek work, and now also have to deal with the trauma that he will never return.

"The construction industry is one of most the dangerous sectors to work in and we are contacted regularly by people who have suffered as a result of safety failings in the sector.

"We want the Oliveira family to get the support they deserve, but this is about more than money. It is also about ensuring that better standards are seen across the board in the construction industry, with a view to ensuring that the same devastating consequences in this case are not repeated."

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